I got an email from Li Yang all the way from Europe!
Rome , Italy
Got on night train from Munich to Rome at 9pm on 13 April. Arrived Rome at 9am on the next day. The night train was pretty crowded. I was in the same room with another 5 passengers, not the most comfortable night. I met a Korean girl who I saw in Amsterdam as well. It’s funny when you travel alone, you notice other woman travel on their own as well. Some paths will cross again.
14 April , cloudy
Found hostel around 10am. Can’t check in before 3pm. Grabbed a map and got some advice from the girl at the reception, I started my walk around Rome. The central part of Rome was pretty small. After asking about 10 different people, I covered attractions such as Santa Mris degil Angeli, Colosseo, Arco Di Costantino, Momumento a Vittorio Emanuele, Fontana Di Trevi, and theSpanish Steps. There were so many tourist everywhere. I find it quite hard to stay at any place longer then for an hour with the crowd. Got back to hostel by Metro, it was like in China, lots of people on it. Luckily my hotel was not too far, got back at 8pm.
I think highlight of the day would be dinner. Got a recommendation from the front desk to this cute little restaurant. It’s full of locals there. I had very yummy seafood pasta. Had a nice chat with my neighbor at the next table, who has been to China before. I was so happy with the dinner, coz they gave me a discount and cost only €10. It’s a pretty good deal for being in Rome.
15 April, cloudy and cold
After trying to catch the over crowded bus ‘64’ to the Vatican city, I decided to walk there. Took me about an hour or so. I crossed the Ponte San Angelo, the bridge of angels, on the other side of river Tevere , it was the Castle San Angelo. The week of Italy culture week, all the tickets to main attractions are free entry, so I find myself quite lucky.
I broke the rules for climbing on top of the castle, coz it’s too hard to find the entrance upstairs. So I pretend not understand the English and went up via the exit route, saved me lots of time.
On my way back, as normal I tried my best to avoid tourists places, and head to the back streets, there I had two slices of Pizza. I went to the supermarket, got 4 different type of cooked food and had dinner back at the hostel.
16 April, sunny Rome – Florence
Checked out hostel at 11am , train does not leave till 145, so left baggage at the train station. Walked to the nearest church Santa Maria Maggiore. When I entered the church, I touched some holy water and did the prayer just like other Catholics. Maybe because of this little effort to show my respect to the Church I was really blessed for the next few hours.
After I visited this big church with lots of gold ornaments, I went to Domus Anrea for a little picnic. Along the walk there, I saw lots of Chinese shops . I even found a Chinese supermarket and stocked up on two instant noodles, can’t wait to eat them later. The park where I had my little picnic was right by the Domus. There are two teenage couples kissing there, two cats walking around. Not many tourists at all. A good start for my last few hours in Rome.
20 minutes before my train leaves for Florence, I hopped on 1st class. Just after I sat down, – family of 5 arrived after me. The wife had an LV scarf, I was thinking it must be a well off family to afford travel in first class. Just when I was thinking about it. Two young women followed them to their seats. They passed them, then came back, from their body languages it seems the family had took their seats by mistake. The father immediately walked towards the exit to check with the staff. The wife was left behind with two young boys and they got up decided to move to the right cabin. The wife was right beside me, as I was sitting by the aisle. One of the young lady was standing right behind her. Suddenly, the wife shouted out something in Turkish, the wife turned around looked at the young lady behind her and pointed her hand bag. The bag zip was half open. The two young women quickly walked off the train. This time the staff came up with the father as well. The wife explained to them what happened and checked through her belongings. Thanks to her awareness, there was nothing stolen by those two women.
It bewildered me that all these happen in front my eyes in less than two minutes. I was staring at them the whole time, and didn’t see the hand in the bag which was less than some centimeters away from me. Just as Wang jing said the pick pockets in Italy do their job with a sense of competitiveness. I better watch out for my things very carefully from now on.
Arrived Florence by 3pm. Had a very unpleasant experience with an old grumpy man who works at the fast train tickets selling points. He didn’t speak much English and made me felt like being ripped off.
I would not give up so easily, so I went back to the queue, this time served by a nice lady. When I explained to her I just want to travel on normal train to Lake Como, instead of using my Eurail pass, she happily changed it all for me.
So persistence is a good thing. Not everyone is bad, it may not be a good start, but be patient and there will be a turning point.
PS: always ask people at Euro rail aid point, not the fast train desk!!!
17 April Sunday, Florence
Most churches closed on Sunday. Had my travel blues. missed Magnus, missed home, and missed normal routine and friends back in NZ.
Went back to hostel around 4pm. Got Chinese food downstairs , the most expensive meal I have had so far.
Met two lovely English girl at the hostel.Christine and Jess. They remind me of Nati and I, 6 years back traveling together in Fiji.
*Li Yang is a dear friend of mine, whom I had the wonderful luck of meeting in Univeristy during our first year orientation. She has a poets heart, no nonsense attidude towards life, a solo traveller, travelling through Europe on a journey of self discovery and adventure. She will share some of her experiences here on MsAudreyC. Lucky me!